Directory Partition Hierarchy, in Microsoft Active Directory, determines the Hierarchy or the Directory Partition Subtrees

There is an important distinction between the physical storage of a directory partition and its logical position in the directory tree.

Physically, all objects are stored in a single database table, regardless of the directory partition to which they are assigned by virtue of their object names.

Logically, the head of a directory partition appears in the naming hierarchy as the topmost object — that is, the < domain > container, the Configuration container, and the Schema container each has a distinguished name that identifies its position in the hierarchy.

The respective directory partitions contain those objects, which are called "heads"


Figure above shows a conceptual diagram of the directory tree hierarchy, including the directory root (rootDSE) and the default directory partitions below the directory root. In any Active Directory forest, the Configuration Directory Partition and Schema Directory Partition are always in these locations.

Each Domain Controller in the AD Forest holds a master copy (replica) of the Configuration Directory Partition and Schema Directory Partition, which are copied to a Domain Controller during domain controller promotion. All updates to Configuration Directory Partition and Schema Directory Partition are replicated to every Domain Controller in the AD Forest. In this way, site, service, AD DOMAIN, and schema information is kept consistent throughout the AD Forest.

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